Maker’s Mark Reverses its Down-Proof

As I wrote last week, Makers Mark announced that they will be reducing the alcohol level of their bourbon whiskey due to supply shortages. Today, they announced that they have reversed that decision and will keep selling 90-proof bourbon whiskey.

Here’s the news release:

Since we announced our decision last week to reduce the alcohol content (ABV) of Maker’s Mark in response to supply constraints, we have heard many concerns and questions from our ambassadors and brand fans. We’re humbled by your overwhelming response and passion for Maker’s Mark. While we thought we were doing what’s right, this is your brand – and you told us in large numbers to change our decision.

You spoke. We listened. And we’re sincerely sorry we let you down.

So effective immediately, we are reversing our decision to lower the ABV of Maker’s Mark, and resuming production at 45% alcohol by volume (90 proof). Just like we’ve made it since the very beginning.

The unanticipated dramatic growth rate of Maker’s Mark is a good problem to have, and we appreciate some of you telling us you’d even put up with occasional shortages. We promise we’ll deal with them as best we can, as we work to expand capacity at the distillery.

Your trust, loyalty and passion are what’s most important. We realize we can’t lose sight of that. Thanks for your honesty and for reminding us what makes Maker’s Mark, and its fans, so special.

We’ll set about getting back to bottling the handcrafted bourbon that our father/grandfather, Bill Samuels, Sr. created. Same recipe. Same production process. Same product.

As always, we will continue to let you know first about developments at the distillery. In the meantime please keep telling us what’s on your mind and come down and visit us at the distillery. It means a lot to us.

While they say that they will maintain the alcohol level, they make no mention about how they will “deal with” anticipated shortages. The release also does not mention anything with regard to price, which I think will be higher.

There has been a great deal of noise since Maker’s Mark announced that they were going to reduce the alcohol-by-volume (ABV). It was enough that the company had to publicly respond and even reverse its decision. However, the irony is that very few people drink bourbon whiskey neat. Almost everyone “waters” it down with something. The only way that Maker’s Mark would taste much different would be if it they were changing the ratios of corn, wheat, barley, and rye. But unless you’re drinking barrel-proof whiskey, it’s already watered down, and it’s still whiskey.

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